Assessment and recommendations

The Estonian economy experienced a sharp contraction of output in the context of the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, deepened by a domestic credit-based boom-bust cycle in the construction sector and reinforced by procyclical fiscal policy (Economic Surveys of Estonia 2011, 2012). Real GDP per capita and household incomes fell markedly (Figure 1). In the following years, the economy recovered quickly, led by exports. The banks, mostly owned by Scandinavian financial groups little affected by the global financial crisis, cleaned up their balance sheets rapidly which helped restore access to credit. Private sector indebtedness fell to sustainable levels. A very strong fiscal position also helped restore financial market confidence. However, economic growth started slowing in 2012 mainly due to weaker exports. Real per capita GDP and household incomes remain below the peak of the preceding boom. Moreover, poor households have barely benefited from the postcrisis recovery since 2010.

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